Laptop Digital Picture Frames

Make a fancy digital picture frame out of that old laptop

Howdy everybody! This site was inspired by a MacWorld article on turning an old Apple laptop into a digital picture frame. I decided to try my hand at creating my own digital frame and while looking around for information to help me with my project, I soon realized that there are quite a number of people who have been building laptop picture frames. This page is a resource for anyone who would like to create their own.

Comments? Additions? E-mail vivacharlietuna at gmail dot com

Site Contents

Linux Digital Frame Projects

Picture frames running some flavor of Linux.
Laptop Frame Using Ubuntu (Added June 9, 2009)

A great resource and forum about creating pretty sophisticated frames with Ubuntu, which include WiFi, Weather, and CNN access. Cool!
DIY 15" Ubuntu Picture Frame (Added December 19, 2008)

A very slick-looking 15" frame running Ubuntu. It also features a cron script to turn the LCD backlight off at midnight and on at 6am. Very cool!
McDPF Digital Frame Linux Software Package (Added May 27, 2008)

McDPF is a "system" level solution for do-it-yourself digital pictures frames. This is not a single application, but a combination of a light weight Linux operating system, several applications, and various scripts to link them all together. The result is one-stop shopping to create your own digital picture frame. The project goal is to create a frame with a wide variety of features that is easy to administer for the end user. The idea is to make something you can give to your friend, mother, grandmother, etc., and they can full enjoy all the features without having to be a computer nerd.
Digital Picture Frame Project (Added May 27, 2008)

Check out two videos showing the result of my digital picture frame/media player project.
Debian Linux Picture Frame (Added November 18, 2007)

Thinkpad 560E and Thinkpad 770 running debian linux and zgv.
Damn Small Linux Frame (Added June 15, 2007)

A Pentium digital frame running Damn Small Linux. The website has a lengthy description of the Linux setup and should be helpful if you are doing a similar configuration.
Bilderrahmen PC (German Digital Picture Frame Project) (Added August 1, 2006)

Using a OmniBook 5700CT to build a digital picture frame. German article, but nice images, too.
Old Laptop --> Digital Photo Frame (Added May 27, 2006)

A great description of a Linux frame that includes an extensive software section.
Automatically syncing laptop picture frames (Added April 25, 2006)

I just finished a write up on how I did much the same thing, except I used a couple of old windows laptops. The laptops now run Damn Small Linux and sync with a central file server.
Compact Linux Digital Picture Frame (Added October 30, 2005)

A very compact frame done using Linux running SSH and an FTP server. A Perl script is used to flip through the images.
DaliPC Digital Picture Frame running Debian (Added October 30, 2005)

Debian Linux frame also has calendar, clock, and temperature.
Building a Linux-Driven Digital Picture Frame (Added August 8, 2005)

A very detailed set of instructions on building a linux-driven digital photo frame for less than $50! Provides setup instructions for muLinux.
DIY Linux Digital Picture Frame with Video Playback (Added August 7, 2005)

What sets this project apart is the built in video playback. The digital photo frame can be used in Video Mode or in Picture Mode. In Picture Mode it works just like a normal laptop frame. In Video Mode it loops a video indefenitely (like my lonely Maui Beach scene). It is based on a 366MHz Toshiba Satellite, 128MB Ram and is running Linux.
Dell Inspiron 3000 Digital Picture Frame (Added August 5, 2005)

Picture frame using Damn Small Linux. A very detailed description of DSL setup is shown.
EZBook Digital Frame Running Linux (Added January 9, 2005)

This artsy and highly digital-looking picture frame is made from an old 233 Mhz PC laptop running FreeBSD 4.8. It includes ethernet and USB support for updating photos.
ThinkPad 15-inch Linux Digital Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

A wireless ThinkPad frame running Linux and Freevo. Not so much an instructional site, but displays a cool frame implementation with a large LCD.

Macintosh Digital Frame Projects

Picture frames running a version of Mac OS.
iPod Digital Photo Frame (Added February 15, 2009)

This DIY how-to describes how to create a digital picture frame (DPF) from an iPod, probably the easiest thing to use. Unfortunately, this page only describes how to make the frame and provides a few helpful hints on how to set up your photos, but it will be updated as soon as I get Linux installed, and the world is limitless as to its possibilities.
Creating a Digital LCD Picture Frame (Added June 9, 2006)

A project page for converting an iBook into a photo frame. The frame will run OS X and a full-screen version of the Safari browser, as well as GraphicConverter.
Wall Mounted TI Book (Added June 9, 2006)

An interesting way to use a TIbook with a broken hinge. Now it's mounted on the wall and shows weather data, plays DVDs, and more.
Hanging Laptop Digital Painting (Added June 9, 2006)

Very detailed instructions for creating a hanging digital painting. The project focuses on converting an Apple laptop.
MacWorld's Digital Picture Frame (Added October 30, 2005)

The MacWorld article that inspired this site.
1400c Voice-Activated Digital Picture Frame (Added October 30, 2005)

A very cool voice-activated 1400c frame running VNC.
OS X Digital Picture Frame (Added January 26, 2005)

A fancy digital photo frame running OS X with wireless internet, audio(!), and a usable cd drive. Lots of pictures listed on the site as well as some links to other frames.
Monochrome Digital Photo Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

An old monochrome PowerBook 100 is turned into a stand-up picture frame. The project lacks easy support for updating the frame with new pictures, but its frame design is sleek and stylish, and looks surprisingly un-digital.
PowerBook 3400 Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

This is one of the more impressive digital frames I've found online. It sports a custom-built wood frame as well as wireless capability and remote accessibility via Timbuktu. It's also AppleScripted such that all the photos are randomized and copied to a RAM disk so the hard drive can spin down and the frame runs silently.
PowerBook Duo Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

The PowerBook duo makes a compact digital frame with a viewing area about the size of a 5x7 print. This particular frame features network updatable photos and was the inspiration for the above 3400 frame.
PowerBook 1400 Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

This digital frame uses a SmartMedia card to store pictures and CompactFlash card to store a slim version of OS 8, elimating the need for a hard drive.
The iFrame (Added January 9, 2005)

An iBook is turned into a surprisingly compact and elegant digital photo frame. This gives me some ideas for my own iBook, though it is not yet totally out of date.
Laptop Collection (Added January 9, 2005)

Here's someone who has started collecting a number of laptops for conversion to digital frames (inspired by this page, might I add). No frames have been started as of the last update, but check back as it looks like there are quite a few laptops waiting to be transformed.
Another PowerBook 1400 Digital Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

The 1400 is popular for its small logic board. This frame is particularly neat because it runs off of a 256MB compact flash card and is now wireless. Sweet.
PowerBook 5300 Digital Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

Here's a cool looking 5300 digital photo frame. This is one way to avoid all the battery troubles 5300s are notorious for. The site is just a picture gallery, but those can often be more helpful than text.

Windows Digital Frame Projects

Picture frames running a version of Windows.
DIY Wireless Digital Picture Frame (Added September 28, 2008)

One of several detailed Toshiba laptop Digital Picture Frames that I've built. More to come on my website.
sBox - 15" Digital Photo Frame (Added November 18, 2007)

A 15" Touchscreen DPF with Wireless and Audio. All running off a 133MHz Celeron with 64MB of RAM and 5.8GB HD. Completely silent and maintenance free. A fun project!
Toshiba Satellite 325 CDS to Digital Picture Frame (Added November 18, 2007)

How to build a non-destructive notebook digital photo frame. / Como construir um porta retrato digital com um notebook.
WiFi Slickr Digital Frame from an old Sony Vaio (Added June 13, 2007)

Converting a Sony Vaio Laptop into a digital picture frame using XP, a wireless card, Slickr and packaging it in a nice-to-look-at shadowbox. A good description of how-to and lots of photos.
Digital Frame using 17-inch Monitor (Added June 13, 2007)

Great description of creating a large-scale digital frame with a 17" desktop LCD monitor and a Windows laptop.
Olivetti ECHOS Picture frame (Added June 13, 2007)

A description of creating a frame written in Italian. The frame runs Windows 98.
Dell Inspiron 4150 to Digital Photo Frame for $25.00 (Added June 13, 2007)

I scored a few broken laptops from the IT dept at work and managed to salvage enough parts to create a digital photo frame.
Compacted compaq DPF (laptop on the wall) (Added June 13, 2007)

An old Compaq e700, running Windows XP, homemade frame, wifi enabled and running Firefox, with a wireless keyboard and built in mouse/joystick for playing games too, while hung on the wall! I have written too much!!
Lcd Photo Frame using a Pressario 305 11.3 (Added June 13, 2007)

A description, in Spanish, of creating a Windows frame from a Presario 305 11.3" LCD mounted in a shadowbox.
AST Digital photo frame (Added June 13, 2007)

Making a digital photo frame from an old laptop (with instructions/description in English and Dutch)
Acer Travelmate Picture Frame (Added June 13, 2007)

A lengthy, detailed description of creating a frame out of an Acer Travelmate. The very well-made site lists the pros and cons of a bootable CD/DVD versus a hard drive. The designer opts for a bootable disc in the end.
YALPF - Yet another laptop photo frame (Added December 17, 2006)

A photo frame made from a Windows 98 laptop with a custom screensaver and a Michael's shadow box frame
Wireless Slickr-Powered Frame (Added November 6, 2006)

A Dell Inspiron 3500 transformed into a wireless Slickr-powered picture frame running Windows XP.
Old, Nasty Dell Transforms Into Beautiful Picture Frame! (Added November 6, 2006)

Pretty entertaining and very detailed "tour" of the miraculous transformation of of a horrible old Dell Latitude into a digital picture frame that displays pictures from Google's new free Picasa Web Albums (beta) service. It turned out awesome!
Slickr Powered Wireless Frame (Added November 6, 2006)

Dell Insperion 3500 and 11b wireless card mounted in a 1" deep frame.
Dell Latitude PII/366 Picture Frame (Added September 13, 2006)

I had an old laptop lying around and decided turn it into a picture frame. Looking for resources, I ended up here, in the picture frame gallery. I used other peoples' tips and tricks and used them to make my own frame. The frame itself is (almost) finished, so stay tuned for updates!
Digital Pictureframe with Scenic Lifebook 700i (Added September 13, 2006)

We all know digital picture frames, don't we? They cost about $200 and I say NO! No to 200 bucks. Geeks like me build it from scratch. Sweet lifebook frame with a natural wood finish.
Tecra 8000 frame running Windows XP (Added August 7, 2006)

A detailed series of blog entries about creating a Windows XP digital frame on a ~$100 budget. Click "Next entry" at the top for the series.
Dell Inspiron 7000 to Digital Frame (Added July 6, 2006)

Conversion of an old Dell laptop to a virtually silent, remote controlled, digital photo frame.
FotoBox - Wi-Fi Digital Photo Frame (Added May 29, 2006)

A frame with FlickR integration
Digital Photo Frame from an IBM Thinkpad 600 (Added May 27, 2006)

I created this digital photo frame from an old IBM Thinkpad 600. The laptop is running WinXP and I remote desktop into it through Wifi to control what pictures appear on the slideshow.
Toshiba 5205-S703 To Digital Frame (Added May 3, 2006)

Hacked apart a laptop to be a digital frame inside a custom made wooden frame. Because of inquiries, we are now serving fellow hobbyist with high quality, low cost custom frames. Please follow the link to our website if interested.
Laptop on the wall - WallTop (Added November 22, 2005)

Takes you step by step though the process of converting an laptop into a less then 0.5 inch thick WallTop to hang next to your other pictures. Making use of wireless takes away the cable problem, and no hard drive makes it completely quiet.
eFrame - Windows XP Digital Frame (Added June 6, 2005)

Windows XP digital frame with webcam & motion detection.
ThinkPad 560 Digital Frame (Added January 22, 2005)

Step by step documentation of a conversion from Thinkpad 560 into a simple (and cute) digital picture frame.
ThinkPad 380 Digital Frame (Added January 21, 2005)

A nice looking digital frame made from an IBM ThinkPad 380. Detailed description of the creation process included.
Toshiba Tecra 9000 Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

A highly detailed description of turning this perhaps overpowered laptop into a fancy digital frame. It has built-in wireless access and high resolution.
Windows CE ThinkPad Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

This is another impressive digital frame that runs Windows CE with no hard disk and can fetch new photos from a USB storage device. The page includes a long question and answer session that could aid in duplicating a fairly complex project.
386/486 Greyscale Digital Picture Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

This digital picture frame recycles a really old greyscale laptop. The whole DOS 6.2 operating system, slideshow software, and the 4-gray GIFs are loaded onto a bootable floppy disk, elimating the need for a hard drive.
Remote-controlled Pentium Digital Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

This is an awesome digital photo frame complete with a custom remote control and custom software. The frame involves some heavy modifications (compared with most similar projects), but the website is very detailed.
Wireless Pentium Digital Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

A Pentium laptop picture frame that solves the hard drive noise issue by fetching images from a server wirelessly, allowing the hard drive to sleep after startup.
Ricoh Touch-sensitive Digital Frame (Added January 9, 2005)

This is a frame made from an old tablet PC. With a little bit of custom software, the user can touch the screen to access the next or previous picture among other things. No keyboard, cool!

Other Digital Frame Projects

Picture frames running a different OS, or more commonly none at all!
Cheap 'n Easy Digital Picture Frame (Added May 27, 2006)

I basically made this digital frame as a birthday present for my girlfriend. Looking for an awesome gift idea? This is it! Total cost was under $100, and could be substantially less if you're savvy.
$30 LCD Digital Picture Frame (Added February 11, 2006)

A cheap way to make a frame without a PC

Digital Frame Resources

Flickr Digial Picture Frame Group (Added June 15, 2007)

A group where you can post pictures of, and discuss, your digital frame projects. Great to trade ideas back and forth.
Cell Phone Linked Digital Photo Frame (Added June 13, 2007)

Instructions for linking your Motorola Razr V6 maxx to a digital picture frame to display photos from your phone or other's phones.
Toshiba Laptop Service Manuals (Added July 6, 2006)

Helpful resource for anyone turning a toshiba laptop into a digital picture frame. Provides links to lots of laptop service manuals to make disassembly easy.
How Digital Picture Frames Work (Added May 27, 2006)

A somewhat cursory overview of how digital frames work from
Electronics Infoline (Added April 7, 2006)

A free collection of more than 10,000 schematics and other electronics resources
Toshiba laptop and notebook repair and disassembly guides (Added December 17, 2005)

How to disassemble and repair Toshiba laptop and notebook. Toshiba laptop support. Fix-It-Yourself manual.
Repair4Laptop (Added October 30, 2005)

An excellent laptop repair resources that also includes a lot of instructions for modifications and upgrades.
American Photo Restoration (Added February 16, 2005)

Restoration of old photographs
eBay (Added January 9, 2005)

eBay is a great place to find anything, including but not limited to cheap old laptops and parts to make them work.
Apple Take-apart Service Manuals (Added January 9, 2005)

Several years ago, Apple decided to stop offering their service manuals online. This website provides all those manuals, including most of the PowerBook models.
Apple Official Manuals Search (Added January 9, 2005)

This search engine lets you search Apple's site for user manuals and tech info sheets.
Mac Motherboard Layouts (Added January 9, 2005)

Mac Gurus provides logic board layouts for a number of old mac PowerBooks.
PowerBook G3 Take-apart Pictorials (Added January 9, 2005)

Step-by-step pictorials of taking apart the PowerBook G3 Wallstreet, Lombard, and Pismo models.
DOS/Windows Boot Disks (Added January 9, 2005)

If you should choose to run your PC laptop from a DOS/Windows boot disk, you can find a number of such disks at this fine website.
Apple History (Added January 9, 2005)

This site has the history of every Apple computer ever made. I've found it useful for determining which PowerBook models would be suitable for framing.
Apple Fritter (Added January 9, 2005)

This site includes a number of fun mac modifications - adding blue LEDs to mice, extending AirPort range, etc.
MacMod (Added January 9, 2005)

Another Mac Modifications site, with quite a number of well-indexed mods.
Wireless Networking for Old PowerBooks (Added January 9, 2005)

An awesome site with instructions on making your PowerBook 1400, 5300, 2400, etc. wireless including links to Mac drivers and details about what cards are compatible with older macs.

This site brought to you by Andrew Skinner